Moscow says a bid by the United States to equip Ukraine with sophisticated weapons has alarmed Russia, branding as a “disinformation campaign” the American media outlets' attempts to suggest that Russia is poised to attack Ukraine.
For the past two weeks, Kiev has time and again said that it feared Russia might be preparing an attack on Ukraine, claiming that there are nearly 100,000 Russian soldiers massed around its borders.
The US and NATO, for their parts, have also been echoing such allegations, referring to what they described as “unusual” Russian troop movements near common borders with Ukraine. They have also issued warnings over a possible attack by Russia.
Late last week, Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's military intelligence chief, claimed that a possible attack by Russia might be launched by the end of January or the beginning of February.
Similar warmings, citing unnamed people claimed to be familiar with the matter, have also appeared in a number of American media outlets.
On Monday, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, once again rejected the idea of a possible Russian attack, stressing that Russia itself was being targeted in a disinformation campaign.
“This is whipping up tension and is another attempt to present Russia as the one threatening the process of settling the situation (in eastern Ukraine),” said Peskov.
“And of course we cannot rule out that this is cover for aggressive dreams that Kiev may have. I mean aggressive dreams about a possible desire to solve the problem in the south-east by force,” he added.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been deteriorating since 2014, when the then Ukrainian territory of Crimea voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty. The US and the European Union-backed Kiev refused to recognize the referendum results, later imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Ukraine as well as the EU and the US claim Russia has a hand in an ongoing conflict that erupted in the Donbass region of Ukraine between government forces and ethnic Russians in 2014. The West imposed sanctions on Russia after accusing it of interfering in the conflict. Moscow denies the allegation.
Elsewhere in his comments on Monday, Peskov lambasted Kiev for its provocative actions.
“Kiev is itself building up its forces, Kiev is being helped to build up its forces, Kiev is being supplied with a significant amount of weapons, including modern high-tech weapons,"” he further told reporters.
“And we are observing this with great alarm, knowing the significant influence of extreme-minded politicians in Ukraine,” Peskov stressed.
On Saturday, a Ukraine-bound ship carrying former American Coast Guard patrol boats designed to boost the Ukrainian Navy sailed through the Dardanelles strait.
Back in September, Moscow warned that NATO would cross a Russian red line if it expanded its military infrastructure in Ukraine, which strives to become a NATO member state.
Earlier this year, the US sent a large consignment of ammunition plus Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, drawing criticism from Moscow.
“Of course, the number of provocations is growing and growing significantly. What's more, these provocations are being carried out with weapons being supplied by NATO countries,” Peskov added.
Ukraine claims that it is upgrading its combat capabilities to defend itself against possible Russian aggression.
Moscow has time and again strongly rejected the possibility of an attack, saying Washington is involved in aggressive moves in the Black Sea, where Ukraine and the US held war-games earlier this month.